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Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears by…

Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears (original 1975; edition 1980)

by Verna Aardema

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2,7812052,107 (4.09)11
Title:Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears
Authors:Verna Aardema
Info:Scholastic (1980), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Tags:ETEC 525

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Why Mosquitos Buzz in People's Ears by Verna Aardema (1975)


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This book is about an African folk story explaining why mosquitoes buzz. The artwork is absolutely beautiful, and it brings diversity to the classroom. This book would be great when teaching about myths, and to excite students about other cultures. ( )
  MissCogswell | Dec 2, 2016 |
This is a classic story and a great example of a book that has won the Caldecott medal. This story follows the chain reaction of animals causing mischief all because of a little mosquito. There were two elements to this story which I thought would make it great for the classroom. The first is the fact that the story contains a lot of repition and the same pattern in the second half. In the first half of the story the author has included a lot of the sounds that the animals make in the text which makes it a great example of onomatopoeia.

Genre: folktale

-read aloud
-caldecott medal books unit
-onomatopoeia unit
  asukonik | Nov 15, 2016 |
This short story shows how one lie can create chaos for an entire community. It all starts with something the mosquito says to Iguana. This is a great story to introduce myths, fables, legends and fairy tales to students and have them practice plot structure and identifying morals. ( )
  Ashley.Setzekorn | Nov 5, 2016 |

This book tells the story of how a mosquitoes' exaggerated tale set off a chain of disturbing and detrimental reactions that eventually led to the sun not coming up. The king of the forest tried to get to the bottom of the story to find who was to be blamed which eventually led to the mosquito. The mosquito escaped from appearing before the council and so she goes around daily with a guilty conscience. She whines in people's ears wanting to find out if everyone is still mad at her. Of course the only answer she gets is an attempt to swat her.


It was interesting to see the chain of events and wonder what will happen next as each animal reacts to the actions of the previous animal. The author has a way of making the story serious and funny at the same time. In some weird way it communicates how misunderstandings can lead to a whole set of problems. Children would find it fun to read.


p.6 Discuss times when we acted on an assumption like the animals. What was the result?
p.19 Discuss the different time the animals blamed another animal for their actions. Have we acted like that sometimes? What may be a better reaction when we are asked about something we did wrong?

Craft Element for mini lesson

This is a great story for a lesson on cause and effect. Discuss what parts of the story are causes, what parts are effects. Students draw a picture of their favorite cause and effect from the story and label it.
  deeprincess | Nov 1, 2016 |
In this Caldecott Medal winner, Mosquito tells a story that causes a jungle disaster. "Elegance has become the Dillons' hallmark. . . . Matching the art is Aardema's uniquely onomatopoeic text . . . An impressive showpiece."
-Booklist, starred review.
  Sara1211 | Oct 17, 2016 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Verna Aardemaprimary authorall editionscalculated
Dillon, DianeIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dillon, LeoIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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For Marcia VanDuinen who heard this story first
First words
One morning a mosquito saw an iguana drinking at a waterhole.
Is everyone still mad at me?
Mosquito told me such a big lie, I couldn't bear to listen to it. So I put sticks in my ears.
I'd rather be deaf than listen to such nonsense!
It was the mosquito's fault
The mosquito said, "I saw a farmer digging yams that were almost as big as I am."
"What's a mosquito compared to a yam?" snapped the iguana grumpily.
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Book description
This West African pourquoi tale explains why mosquitoes buzz in people's ears. It all starts with Mosquito telling a lie to Iguana. Tired of listening to Mosquito, Iguana puts twigs in his own ears. When Python tries to talk to Iguana and Iguana doesn't respond to him, it sets off a chain of events that leads to the sun not rising in the morning. King Lion must learn the story of the events leading back to Mosquito's lie in order to get Mother Owl to call the sun. The story is enhanced by beautiful Caldecott winning illustrations.

If you enjoyed this story, try "Ahanti to Zulu: African Traditions".
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Reveals the meaning of the mosquito's buzz.

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